May 6, 2011

At this Rate, How Long Until the Economy Fully Recovers?

Antony Davies

Senior Affiliated Scholar

The economy has been so hobbled by the government’s $3 trillion stimulus spending binge that, even if we repeat the job gains we experienced last month every month from now on, it’s going to take us six years to get back to the employment levels we enjoyed prior to the recession.

Few economists doubt that the economy could have repaired itself on its own in well fewer than six years. Now, not only will it take us six years to create the 11 million jobs we lost to the recession, but we will need the tax revenue from an additional 10 million jobs just to pay for the interest on the money we borrowed for the stimulus spending.

The economy added 244,000 jobs in April. Since employment in government (federal, state, and local) declined by 24,000 jobs, the private sector added a total of almost 270,000 jobs.

That certainly helps, though less than it seems. The economy needs to add around 200,000 jobs each month just to keep pace with population growth, so while the number of jobs rose in April by 244,000 our need for jobs rose by 200,000. In sum, we are 44,000 jobs better off.

To get back to where we were prior to the financial meltdown, we need another 11 million jobs. If we keep up the pace of job growth we saw in April and accounting for population growth, it will take us six years to get back to where we were prior to the meltdown.